Living Cities Grants $3.2M Across Six U.S. Cities to Support Wealth Building Pathways

New York – Living Cities recently announced a $3.2 million grant investment across six cities to help close racial gaps in income and wealth: Albuquerque, N.M.; Austin, Texas; Memphis, Tenn.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Saint Paul, Minn.; and Rochester, N.Y.

These grants, made possible by the Wells Fargo Foundation and Citi Foundation, were disbursed through the Living Cities Closing the Gaps Network, a multi-year initiative bringing together leaders from cities across the country who are committed to building an anti-racist society that advances equitable and inclusive economic opportunity.

The $3.2 million will be distributed across six cities focused on the following strategies:

Albuquerque: Develop city-owned land to support and increase the homeownership rates for local Native and Black communities, as well as offer technical assistance to develop a pipeline of licensed Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) general contractors in the city.

Austin: Partner with UpTogether to launch a direct cash assistance to support BIPOC individuals who want to purchase homes through the City of Austin’s land trust, as well as partner with community-based organizations to provide equity infusions and technical support for BIPOC entrepreneurs.

Memphis: Create a community land trust in the historic Orange Mound neighborhood to provide affordable homeownership, as well as develop a Contractors University to improve BIPOC access to contextual technical assistance, strengthen the contractor community, and help more BIPOC businesses contract with the city.

Minneapolis: Partner with Youthprise to create a pilot cohort of underserved BIPOC youth to support them in advancing cooperative models for business and home ownership.

Saint Paul: Contribute to the Inheritance Fund, which offers forgivable loans to help low-income descendants of the old Rondo neighborhood purchase homes and support homeownership and employee owned co-ops through capacity building.

Rochester: Target outreach to Head Start families with Housing Choice Vouchers to buy homes using their vouchers and assist with down payment assistance, as well as offering grants to early-stage BIPOC owned businesses, navigation support, and other technical assistance.

“Homeownership and small business ownership are two of the proven ways to help any group of individuals build wealth to support themselves and their families,” said Joe Scantlebury, president and CEO of Living Cities. “Gaps in wealth between people of color and white people persist and it will take coordinated, direct action by leaders in cities to turn back the ongoing legacy of systemic racism. We believe that removing barriers to Black, Indigenous, and other people of color owning homes and small businesses is key for our nation’s future.”